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Arthur Berry was a very famous jewel thief who practiced his trade back in the roaring 20's. He was a very unusual thief in that he would only steal from the very rich. Not only did they have to be rich, but they had to be of the elite rich. The story goes that Arthur would pass up many jewels and take only the finest and most precious. He was one thief that was a connoisseur of art. Since Arthur Berry stole only from the highest elite of society it became something of a social status to have been robbed by this notorious robber. This kind of widespread popularity gave the police nightmares.

Well, one day Arthur stole one too many times because the police caught him in the act, and he was shot. While he was suffering from excruciating pain he promised himself that he would never steal again. Now, that was a good beginning; but, for some strange happening, Arthur escaped from prison and spent three more years on the loose. Then came his downfall, when an insanely jealous woman turned on him by telling police where he was. He was recaptured and spent the next eighteen years behind bars. While in prison, Arthur made up his mind that crime didn't pay and that he would never steal again.

When Arthur got out of prison he made his way to a little town up in New England and settled down. People did not suspect that he was a famous jewel thief, and due to his hard work and neighborliness, he soon became one of the small town's most respected citizens.

All went well with Arthur until someone came to the little town and recognized him as the famous jewel thief. As the news spread as to who he was, reporters came rushing in from the large city newspapers to interview this reformed criminal. One of the questions that was put to Arthur by a young reporter was this one: "Arthur, we know that you have taken from some of the wealthiest people in the world. Do you remember who it was that you stole the most from?" Without a moment's hesitation Arthur answered, "The person that I stole the most from was Arthur Berry. I could have made a contribution to society. I could have been a stock broker. I could have been a teacher. I could have been a successful businessman. I could have done all of these, but instead I spent two-thirds of my adult life in prison. I have spent a lifetime robbing myself."

How many of us are robbing ourselves and robbing God by not using our time and our lives wisely? We are given the opportunity every day to see how we will act and react to circumstances and situations where we can forget about ourselves and lend a helping hand to others or show the love of a merciful Father. The prophet Micah spoke the truth when he said, "He has shown you, 0 man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? " (Micah 6:8).

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward